Tweet by Donald Trump: "The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the US very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum". Mexico and Canada are already exempt.
After meetings with USA trade envoy Robert Lighthizer inBrussels, EU and Japanese trade officials said negotiations would need to continue.
"As a close security and trade partner of the USA, the European Union must be excluded from the announced measures", she tweeted after bilateral and trilateral meetings.
"We call for calm-headed behaviour", he told reporters.
Malmstroem said in a statement that she had a "frank" discussion with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about the steel tariffs, insisting that "the European Union must be excluded" because it is a close U.S. ally.
"He only explained the schedule and the procedures", he said.
The EU insists that it is committed to open, global trade.
One Washington business source who had discussed the issue with the White House said the figure had now grown to about $60 billion, with a potentially wider array of products under consideration.
The news website Politico earlier reported that the U.S. Trade Representative's office had presented Trump with a package of US$30 billion in tariffs last week, but Trump told aides that this wasn't high enough.
But China - largely blamed for global glut of steel and criticised by Mr Trump for exploiting a trade deficit - looks likely to bear the brunt of the move.
The European Union and Japan, the United States' top economic and military ally in Asia, also reiterated that their exports were not a threat to us national security, rejecting Trump's justification for imposing the tariffs.
Lighthizer didn't comment publicly after the meetings.
Trump said he believes the tariffs will help deal with overcapacity in the steel industry and China's practice of "dumping" excess steel onto other countries.
Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen warned Washington not to expect any concessions to win an exemption.
"This is not a trade negotiation", he said. "We know that the collaboration on NORAD, the collaboration on national security issues narrow and broadly is something that is really important to both of our countries".
As the US prepares to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a world economic watchdog warned Tuesday that such barriers will hurt economic growth globally.
The EU is also maintaining a threat of counter-measures that would target USA imports ranging from maize to motorcycles, and may publish its list next week to allow industry and other interested parties to give their input.
Beijing has repeatedly warned it will respond to hostile USA trade measures and has launched an anti-dumping investigation into U.S. imports of sorghum and has not ruled out measures on soy beans. If tariffs on unfair steel and aluminum competitors are a bad idea, how do we ensure USA manufacturers face exactly the same obstacles to entry into foreigners' markets as they face entering ours?
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